Saturday, September 02, 2006

A simple way to pray

Kristin's father recommended a short book on prayer; it's A Simple Way to Pray which centers on the 34-page letter Martin Luther wrote to his longtime friend and barber on prayer.

Luther was pivotal in reforming prayer, which in his time was largely stale, heartless repetition. He showed how prayer is to be a Word-centered conversation with God by taking the Ten Commandments one day, a Psalm, the Creed, or the Lord's Prayer the next day and use them as flint and steel to kindle a flame in his heart. He would first consider the instruction in each line of these texts and then express his thankfulness to God for giving us such gracious direction to live by. He would then confess that he has sinned against this commandment his whole life in thought, word and action. Lastly, he would petition God with particulars and give every argument he could think of to move God to fulfill his wish concerning this text.

In the midst of such thoughts if the Spirit began to preach in his heart he would honor Him by letting go of this prayer plan; he would then be still and listen to Him. But as Dietrich Bohnhoffer, another famous German Lutheran, has said, "Oh how rare it is to find a soul quiet enough to hear God speak!"

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